News & Events

from Ian Macleod Distillers

Smokehead & Marshall Ultimate Band Contest

14th October 2010

Smokehead Joins The Search For The UK's Greatest Unsigned Rock Band With The Marshall Ultimate Band Contest.

Smokehead Whisky, in association with Marshall and Lick Library, is sponsoring the greatest unsigned rock band battle of all time, with the most coveted prize in the music industry: The Marshall Ultimate Band Contest (UBC).

Launched on 1 October in partnership with rock 'n' roll's spirit of choice, Smokehead Whisky, the Marshall UBC is calling all rock gods in-the-making to get online and submit their music video. Not only will the winning band receive an amazing set of prizes, their music will be heard by top music industry insiders and influencers, receiving the honour of a Marshall endorsement for one year.

A full endorsement for guitar and bass players from Marshall Amplification is sought after by all the top artists around the world. Bestowed on the likes of Slash and Jimi Hendrix, in the past the only way to get the endorsement was to already be signed and making waves within the music industry.

Not only will the winning band have full Marshall artist support and loan of gear for a year, they will also win a fantastic bands' worth of Marshall amps including a bass stack and guitar stack.

The prize also includes Smokehead Whisky, the powerful Islay Single Malt which has become the drink of choice at rock events including the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards and High Voltage Festival; a four-track demo re-master courtesy of Metropolis Studios; Licklibrary DVDs and Classic Rock magazine will put a track from the winning band on a classic rock covermount CD.

Entry is simple and free. Bands need to register with the website, uploading their own YouTube video of original music to The top 20 groups with the most votes will then go through to the second round, where five bands will be selected to compete in the final before Christmas at Marshall HQ in Milton Keynes, performing live in front of an audience and respected industry judges.

Paul Marshall, Artist and Customer Liaison Manager of Marshall Amplification said: "The aim of the Marshall UBC is simply to find the best unsigned band out there and give them a shot.  We have brought together some huge music-obsessed sponsors in Smokehead, Classic Rock Magazine, Lick Library and Metropolis, all passionate and committed to supporting and promoting some of the best raw talent that the UK has to offer. Entries have just opened and already the standard is immense."

Iain Weir, Marketing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers, brand owners of Smokehead Whisky said: As a powerful, peaty Islay Single Malt, Smokehead is irreverent, powerful and not for the faint-hearted - the perfect mix to become a true rock brand.  We are honoured to be involved and working with the iconic Marshall Amplification on this exciting project. Through the Ultimate Band Contest, our work with Classic Rock Magazine and High Voltage Festival, we are cementing Smokehead's reputation and its synergy with the rock world."

For more details, rules of entry and to enter see

Closing date for entries to Marshall UBC is 15/11/10

Described as being like a cannonball, Smokehead is an explosive combination of peat, smoke and spice with some delicate sweetness. The single malt flavour is described as fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry, iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt. The taste hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness, before exploding with peppery spice and more earthy peat.

Smokehead is widely available throughout the UK and worldwide, RRP £31.99. Details of stockists, including Sainsbury's can be found on the website

Curious to discover more, visit

Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky encourages responsible drinking



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Notes to Editors:

The Prizes

Marshall Artist Endorsement for 1 Year - Marshall artist support with loan for any gigs* for a year after the date of the final.

- Marshall JVM 210H

- Marshall 1960A

- Marshall MB 410H

- Marshall MBC 810

*Subject to certain terms and conditions, and the band will be responsible for any carriage.

Smokehead whisky

LickLibrary DVDs'

Metropolis studio - master a bands demo (up to 4 tracks) via their 'unsigned mastering' service

Classic Rock - Will put a track from the winning band on a classic rock covermount CD



Tasting notes:


Heavy smoke and peat. Amazing richness.  Lemon, fresh ginger, plum jam.  Salty and spicy. 


Like a cannonball - hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness then explodes with peppery spice and more earthy peat.   Spreads to all the areas of your mouth with more peat and light sweetness.


Even more peat, spice, mandarin - then dries up. When you think it's all over the peat comes back to hit you again.


A rollercoaster of peat and spice with some delicate sweetness.